Big Spiky Centrals, 20.09 (15 wins 1 loss on jinteki.net)

callforjudgement 188

This is an updated version of the 20.06 version of my Big Spiky Centrals deck. I'm posting it because the original deck was quite popular, and some people have been interested in how to update it for 20.09, and/or in how I've adapted it since the original was published.

Since the 20.06 banlist, SSL Endorsement has been banned, making the deck somewhat weaker. However, it's been putting up even better results in practice; I don't think that the deck is stronger, nor that the metagame is any kinder to it, but rather that runners are more inclined to misplay against it. Or to put it another way: the original felt unbeatable, whereas this version feels beatable but somehow ends up winning anyway in practice.

The main changes from the previous version are to make the deck slightly more focused on the early game. The 20.06 version was vulnerable early on, but could survive the early game because its agendas were nearly impossible to steal (Obokata Protocol defends itself better than pretty much anything else, and SSL Endorsement gets you out of the early game in a hurry if stolen). In the 20.09 version, the best replacement seems to be The Future Perfect, but it costs you money when accessed rather than gaining you money. So this version of the deck instead runs more early defence (like Cortex Lock) and burstier economy (in particular, Celebrity Gift; we aren't a shell game deck so there's almost no downside).

One of the biggest changes has been to the ICE mix. In particular, this seems like the perfect deck for Waiver; it can defend centrals early, is expensive to break, and late-game failing to break it is usually an instant flatline (if you are rich enough, and you normally will be, Waiver + House of Knives will kill a runner from any number of cards). I don't think Waiver is really playable outside a deck that wins by grinding the Runner down and is much richer than them, but this deck meets those requirements perfectly.

As before, the deck normally ends up winning with either a Sandburg flatline or a Blacklist flatline (this is another reason Waiver works well here: it enables a Blacklist flatline against Black Orchestra, and yet also works for early centrals defence). It is possible (and fairly easy) for most decks to play around the Blacklist flatline, and yet it's very hard for runners to actually play around it in practice. In fact, I've played several games against my own deck (or variants of it), and when I'm on Anarch I often end up getting flatlined by Blacklist even though I know it's likely to be in the deck. It's just so hard to break the habit of trashing rather than installing your heap breakers.

If the runner chooses not to run, you can sometimes still flatline them with Bio-Ethics Association, or alternatively just score out. Still, this version of the deck typically doesn't win by scoring.

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